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Messages - AFS

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SFML projects / Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« on: March 18, 2017, 07:05:35 pm »
More things! Yay! ;D

Yay, thanks for the interest ;D

Checkpoints sound like a massive improvement on playability but this, of course, depends on whether a player prefers to play the game or compete with the game.

Yeah, at first I was fine without them, but the game is kind of slow paced, with lots of traveling, and doing that thing again and again after dying would quickly become tedious. The missions themselves are already structured in "parts" (that is, you get a batch of objectives, and after you complete them you get a new batch in a different part of the map), so having a checkpoint between each batch seems natural. 

I've been thinking of adding a "Hard mode" after the game is completed, and this mode would disable checkpoints (while also disabling cutscenes and dialogue). That would be neat.

The fuel "burning" during dialogues could have been solved with a much more simple solution: pause the clock! ;)
This allows fuel to burn when hovering (as one would expect), for example, but keeps balanced whether or not one reads the dialogue.

By "pausing the clock" you mean like making it not burn fuel while a dialogue is up? If that's the case, then players who don't care about the dialogue will get the advantage of free movement while dialogue is up, and there's a LOT of dialogue.

I forgot to mention that dialogue popups don't pause the game, they don't behave like proper cutscenes on which you can't control your character and have to skip the dialogue with a button press. No, the popups just appear as you play and disappear after a few seconds. They serve as commentary by the kids that are playing the game, and for the most part is tongue-in-cheek and not critical to completing the mission.

I didn't want to make the dialogue interrupt the gameplay, so the player is always in control, and that's why I can't pause the clock. With that in mind, making it so you don't burn fuel while standing seems to me like the only solution: if you don't care about the dialogue, just ignore it and keep playing, but if you do, you are free to stop and read, you won't get penalized.

Secondaries charging by kills is an odd choice. You've already mentioned that they're a panic button (missiles/charge) or to be used in conjunction with the primary (missiles/freeze). Charging by kills means that once you've used it up, you have to be fine without it or you will die. Charging by time allows the ability to evade until the weapon is available where you can then engage properly.
If 15 seconds charge makes the game easy, increase the charge time! :P

Yeah, even though the secondaries serve as a complement to the primary, you can still play fine with just the primary. The GIFs are kind of misleading, but in the real game you don't fight that many enemies at once, that would be a nightmare. :P

I played around a lot with the recharge timer, but I could never reach a proper "balance". If the timer is too short, you can abuse the hell out of the secondaries (which are VERY poweful), but if the timer is too long, you feel like you should save it for that special moment in the mission where you really need it, and end up only using it once, or maybe never (like the BFG9000 from Doom)

Also, people play differently. A fast, careless player that wants to complete each mission in under a minute would only have the chance to use the weapon once or twice, while a slow player will be rewarded unfairly with more uses. Playing slow is already safer as it is, so rewarding the slow player with even more charges would make this playstyle way too effective.

By recharging it by kills instead of time, it doesn't matter if you play fast or slow, you will only get roughly the same amount of uses. If anything, it makes playing fast more exciting, because you will recharge the secondary sooner.

Another option for secondaries appears with ammo. You can require a certain amount of ammo to use it or maybe have specific "charge" items to pick up.
For example, charge fully in 2 minutes, add 10% charge for each kill, and add 25% charge for each normal charge item picked up.
That way, you can have repeated usage with constant engagement (kills), begin engagement with a full charge (time and/or items) and have the option to build up that charge during evasion (items).

Thanks for the suggestion, although it seems a little complex. I would prefer using only one method to recharge, not a composite, just to keep things simple.

I didn't think about using an item to recharge, though, so thanks for that. However, using a item then makes the secondary be dependable of fuel (because, by finding the recharge item, you spend fuel on the way), so I'll have to add more fuel items to compensate. This brings the problem that if a player never uses the secondary, he will have a huge surplus of fuel. I guess that's a valid trade-off, but I need to think more about it.

The other option is to make the secondary share the ammo of the primary, with the secondary eating a huge chunk of ammo (say, half the bar), which would make the ammo management a little more in depth, but then again, you could only be able to use the secondary if you have more than half the bar, otherwise you are stuck with the primary, and this would force player to use the secondary, find ammo, use the secondary again, find ammo, and repeat and repeat, until eventually you don't have more ammo on the map, and suddenly the mission becomes unwinnable. While that's the player's fault, as the developer I need to minimize those situations.

Man, balancing gameplay is hard  :-\

I think Project threads are (or should be) exempt from this rule, particularly with posts from the creator. How else would updated information be shared? Another (newer) thread would be horrible, right?

I guess you are right. Still feels weird to post on a thread whose last reply was made 10 months ago, though.

Anyways, thanks for stopping by. :)

SFML projects / Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« on: March 17, 2017, 08:21:40 pm »

Sorry to bump the thread, but I didn't want to post this on the Screenshots one, as I've already posted there twice.

I've been working on the game very slowly (only a few hours per month, although lately I've been more productive), and I've made some progress since last post 9 months ago. Here are some of the changes, including some GIFs:

Rubble particles:

I already posted this in the Screeshots thread, but I'm reposting them here. Using a VertexArray (which, when I first started using SFML a few years back, I thought it was called VectorArray, ha!), I made some "particles" that appear when objects are hit with bullets or when they explode.

The particles stay on the map, even if you go faaaaaaar away and then come back, so after you complete all your objectives and are tasked to go back to base, it's nice to see all the destruction that you managed to make.

One exception of the "stay on the map" rule is in the space mission. In this case, the particles simply go flying and once they are outside the camera they disappear.

Those are some old GIfs, though, when the particles were as big as oranges. They are considerably smaller now, with some random variation in size, so the effect is a little more subtle.

Secondary weapons:

From the very beginning I wanted to have three playable characters, Green, Blue and Red, each with a primary weapon and a very powerful secondary. I inmediately had an idea of each primary weapon, but I had no clue about the secondaries.

A few weeks ago I finally took the time to implement some ideas about the secondary weapons, yay!

For Green, seeker missiles, which took me more time to implement that I want to admit:

For Blue, a melee charge (or whatever you want to call it. I just call it Kaio-ken):

And for Red, a freeze ray. Enemies drop a different rubble particle if they are frozen.

In all cases, the idea of the secondary weapon is to complement the primary and to get out of trouble. Blue has a very hard to aim primary, so the secondary is used to clean lots of enemies quickly; Red as a shotgun has a primary, so it has trouble with long range enemies, so you can freeze them to get close and BAM!; finally, Green has a machine gun as a primary, so it's kinda good against everything but the helicopter itself is pretty slow, so the seeker missiles serve more as a "panic button".

Once you use the secondary, you have to wait a little bit to use it again.

Gameplay changes:

- Fuel is now spent by movement, not time: At first, fuel was spent by time, but the game has dialogue popups. If the player stops the helicopter to read the dialogue in peace, he's spending fuel. Basically, I was punishing players for reading the dialogue, and that's not ok. So, now the fuel is spent only on movement, so you can stop to read without having to worry.

This was HUGE for balance, because I tested levels on which I both ignored and read the dialogue: in the former case I ended up having plenty, while in the latter I barely had fuel to complete the mission. If I put more fuel items on the map, you ended up with way too much fuel if you ignored dialogue, but if I didn't put enough items, the mission was unwinnable if you did read them. It was a nightmare to balance a mission, but with this change now I don't have this problem.

- Secondary weapons now recharge by kills, not time: Players (and by "players" I mean "me", ha!) could just use the secondary, wait the 15 seconds it takes to recharge, and use it again, basically completing the whole mission without using the primary weapon. This was even more effective after the change in fuel previously mentioned, because now you are not spending fuel by waiting.

Now I changed it so that the secondary recharges after 10 kills, that is, enemy helicopters or turrets, but not neutral buildings. Now you HAVE to use the primary, and use the secondary more wisely, because there's a limited number of enemies on the map, and therefore, limited recharges.

- Item detector tabs: The game uses objectives tabs to represent, well, your objectives.

You change this with the keyboard, and a little arrow will point in the direction of the objective you have selected.

An unrelated problem was that it was difficult to find items, like fuel or health. You basically stumble upon them by pure chance, and the worse thing was that you actually spend fuel by looking for items. This was not cool.

So I decided to simply add tabs for each item, so if you need something in particular, you simply select the tab and the arrow will point to the closest item.

Yes, this makes the game easier, but I prefer an easier game than a tedious one.

- Checkpoints!!!: Before this, if you died, you had to start the level all over again, including waiting for dialogue, uugh. Now you only start since, well, the last checkpoint, which is usually after your last objective completed. Thanks to this, I can make the game harder 8)

To implement this I don't save a copy of my Level class in memory, because not only that's very slow, but I also have the problem of pointers pointing to incorrect places in memory. Instead, considering that each mission is stored in a text file in an specific format, I simply save the level at that checkpoint in that same format (but in memory, not in a text file) and then load this level in the same way as If I'm loading a level from scratch. As far as the code is concerned, I'm loading an entirely different level, not a checkpoint.

This works surprisingly well, althought it was a little tricky, because it's not as simple as saving the positions of each enemy and call it a day, I also had to tweak the events (scripting system) up to that point, which includes timers, variables and stuff like that, but all in all, I was happy with the results.

- Ammo: This game is inspired by the Strike series of games from the MegaDrive and SNES. In those games, you had to manage your armor, fuel and ammo. In my case, I decided to scrap ammo pickups and just leave armor and fuel, so your weapons have unlimited ammo, but a few weeks ago I thought: "ah, what the hell?" and added ammo anyways. It's not the most significant change, but at least it stops the player from just holding the shoot button for the whole mission.

And I guess that's it. Not that many visual changes, more like details, but the game feels better overall, like more fun, less tedious. I'm actually liking it.

By the way, I'm not making this game to sell it, I'm just making it as a personal thing, but with the recent news that Greenlight is going away, I started considering putting the game there, for curiosity more than anything, and if the rare event that it gets greenlit happens, sell it for like a buck or something (as the game is pretty short), but on the other hand I fear that I'm going to get destroyed in the comments.

Anyways, sorry for the long post. I'll upload a video of gameplay soon.

Thanks for reading ;)

SFML projects / Re: Three Prototypes
« on: March 15, 2017, 08:20:04 pm »
Great looking effect!

If you still have the idea of the DBZ-like fighting game, you could use those particles when the character is "charging up" an energy ball, or someting like that.

SFML projects / Re: Screenshot Thread
« on: January 05, 2017, 07:42:21 pm »
^ Thanks for the suggestions. Now that you guys mention it, it does indeed look weird. The thing is, despite being in "space", the player still has to use the helicopter sprite for story reasons, so I can't use a proper "spaceship" sprite. I'll try to move the thrusters then, and probably use two at the same time, like Hapax said.

Happy new year!

SFML projects / Re: Screenshot Thread
« on: December 27, 2016, 05:10:53 pm »

(click to show/hide)


I'll take a look at the implementation of "sw::Sprite3d", I'm curious of how you did it.

Good, good. Keep it up. Always like seeing how this game is going!


I think the side propulsions (when turning) are on the wrong side...

I don't know, I think they are on the right side: if you turn right, the propulsion is drawn on the left, "pushing" the object to rotate clockwise, but hey, I'm no rocket scientist  :P

Those propulsions are just placeholders, though, that's why they are barely visible.

SFML projects / Re: Screenshot Thread
« on: December 23, 2016, 04:55:11 am »
Good job, Hapax. I particularly liked the rotating cube in the beginning; everything 3D or pseudo-3D is like black magic to me.  :P


Personally, I've been slowly working on "Our Dear Paper Fighters". Recently I made a rubble effect using a VertexArray:

(click to show/hide)

The debris stays there, even if you go far away and then come back. The only exception is in the space mission: no gravity, so the debris just floats until it dissappears ;D

(click to show/hide)

All of this took me way more time to implement that I care to admit  :-\

SFML projects / Re: 2D RPG/ARPG Game
« on: December 11, 2016, 03:35:31 am »

How long have you been developing this?

I like the character graphics. Are those pre-rendered?

Any reason of using C++ for the engine and C# to make the map editor?

It looks pretty interesting, good job!

SFML projects / Re: Three Prototypes
« on: December 10, 2016, 05:25:17 am »
I remember having a DBZ game on the SNES when I was a kid. Gameplay wise, it sucked; it was very clunky and didn't stand a chance against games like Street Fighter II or Killer Instinct, but the music was catchy, the characters were faithful to the TV series and it really captured the spirit of what DBZ was all about: throwing energy balls at the opponent while yelling your attacks.

The terrain prototype is intriguing. I can imagine it being really awesome to see how the the terrain changes during the fight. The only downside I can see is that it would make the hand-to-hand combat really difficult, due to changes in height. That could be avoided if the game is strictly about throwing energy balls, no punching and kicking allowed, considering that you said that the game would be very simple.

Here's an idea for a fourth prototype: the camera split. I remember that in those games, if the characters are too far away from each other, the camera would split in half, still showing both fighters, and allowing to still throw energy balls at each other. I know it's possible to make a split-screen using two sf::Views and changing the viewports, but I don't if it's possible to split it diagonally without using some trickery. That would be a good exercise.

SFML projects / Re: Pointless Wars - [Turn-Based Pointless Strategy]
« on: October 01, 2016, 03:42:28 am »
^ Very neat! ;D

That background is begging for some easter eggs, IMO. Like animals reacting if you click on them or something.

SFML projects / Re: Jeffrey the Robot
« on: June 03, 2016, 07:21:16 pm »
AFS, I'm not sure what you want me to do to fix that window size issue? I'll take a look and see if I can fix it.

Well, the "issue" depends of the game. For instance, in a fast platformer, a person running it at 1080p may see some distant spikes at a given time while a person running it a 720p may not, therefore the latter will have less time to react to it, and that could be considered unfair.

So, to "fix" this, you make it so when you resize the window, your sprites get resized as well, so you don't see more of the map, you just see the same, but bigger. So, regardless of resolution, every player can see the same elements on screen at a given time. To do this you don't actually scale your sprites, you just keep your main view at a constant size, even after resizing the window.

But again, it depends of the game, and maybe with yours is not an issue and you could just leave it at that ;)

SFML projects / Re: [C++ Plateformer 2D] An Octonaut Odyssey
« on: June 02, 2016, 04:05:35 am »
Hey, I tried it (by the way, is it just me or Itch.io download speed is very slow? It took me a good 15 minutes to download the demo).

The visuals are very nice, so props on that one. I loved how you could see the stars moving, and how the background moon (or planet?) shadow was moving as well, that was a nice touch.

Language selection worked fine for me, but you showed both languages in french ("français", "anglais"). Wouldn't be better to show the names on its native language? ("français", "english", "español", etc.)

Now, regarding gameplay, I must admit that I didn't understand it. You can modify the terrain by using S or F, but I didn't find a pattern, I was just pressing the keys randomly until I got a terrain on which could pass through. Maybe I'm missing something?

SFML projects / Re: Jeffrey the Robot
« on: June 02, 2016, 03:43:09 am »
Hey, I tried it. Unfortunately there's not much to say about it, but at least it worked properly, no crashes, and the collision detection worked as intended.

I did find the first level much harder that the next two, oddly enough.

Also, I found it weird that if you maximize the window, you can see more of the level. So, people running at a higher resolution can see more, and maybe that could be considered an unfair advantage (or maybe not, but it's something to consider).

Anyways, good job!

SFML projects / Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« on: June 02, 2016, 03:26:40 am »

I really like the visual style of this game and very pleased that you're continuing work on it :)

Thanks a lot, man. I'm really glad that most people seem to like the art style, because like I have said many times before, I'm not an artist at all.

Now I'm trying to tweak the gameplay, because apparently it's too random. I'm thinking of making the levels with fewer enemies, but making them more unique, with different patterns and stuff, because right now the few enemies available just shoot straight at you and that's it, there's nothing to learn, so the combat is not very engaging, you just brute-force your way through them.

I'm also trying to learn how to make music, and while I'm slowly improving, I still don't like how they are turning out. I searched for free music online, but so far I haven't found anything that fits, unfortunately, so for now I'm just practicing to make my own music a little less crappy.

This may be a silly question but what do the scissors at 0:33 do?

Oh, the scissors are just for background, they don't do anything gameplay wise. I use them in some cutscenes and in the main menu screen:

I'm thinking of adding pencils, glue and stuff like that as well :P

SFML projects / Re: Screenshot Thread
« on: June 02, 2016, 03:04:59 am »
Been working on this RPG/Robotron-esque hybrid.

(click to show/hide)

I love this!

SFML projects / Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« on: May 21, 2016, 04:55:45 pm »

Slow progress on the game itself, but I managed to make a new video regarding level creation. It's sped up, like those timelapse videos about paintings and stuff, but crappier.



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